tv Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer Current October 12, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
never have gotten to that point. sometimes democrats can get pretty agitated. stay on current we've got more great coverage of what happened last night and what is happening going toward. and everyone have a great weekend. [ ♪ theme music ♪ ] >> good evening i'm michael shure sitting in for eliot spitzer, and this is sup. vice president joe biden and made paul ryan clash early. martha raddatz moderating and keeping a tight grip on the proceedings, the topics included this sharp exchange on social security and medicare. >> social security and medicare going bankrupt. if you reform these programs for my generation, 55 and below.
>> who do you believe him or me, a plan that added $6,400 a year more and with regard to social security we will not privatize it. >> shocking to know that both sides claimed victory after the debate. democrats praised biden on the substance of his arguments while republicans attacked him on style points. >> biden new to pick up that flag and go in. did he it tonight and effectively. >> i don't think from a stylistic point of view that he did himself any good. >> he looked like an arrogant cheshire cat smiling and laughing every time ryan spoke. >> joe biden is joe biden. he's authentic and real. he's state forward and he says what he thinks and he says what
he means. >> mitch mcconnell criticizing style. more from mitt romney and former president bill clinton. >> the president watched the debate and thought the vice president did an excellent job presenting this administration's case. >> there was one person on stage last night who was thoughtful and respectful, steady, and poised. the other candidate, of course, just attacked. >> i kind felt for congressman ryan. he had to defend romney position that $716 billion in medicare savings in the president's budget that the congressmen voted for is some how a ripoff even though it was in his budget too. >> man he is good. for more on this debate and the struggle of the future of social
security and medicare. let's go to errol lewis and thomas frank. gentlemen, thank you for being with us on "viewpoint" tonight. i came away from that debate thinking that the vice president really did the job he needed to do. he stopped the bleeding from last week. some people say he started the bleeding of paul ryan and mitt romney, but i think his job in the debate is to end last week for the obama-biden campaign. first i want to ask you, do you think he was able to accomplish that. >> i think he did. he certainly did that last night. he changed the narrative. whether or not the administration was back on its heels, afraid or unable to engage unable to loosen up and take it to the other side, we saw that and more. interestingly enough we have a retroactive answer to why the president last week may be seemed a little stiff, maybe
didn't seem so jovial. didn't loosen up and try to engage mitt romney. as we saw last night it can be jarring. not everybody liked it. >> that's something i want to ask you thomas frank this style, are we reading too much into it or did it matter a lot last night. >> it's a vice presidential debate, so by definition it did not matter a whole lot. i tell you, i had two really different reactions to it. i read the debate before i came to the studio. i read the transcription of the debate and i agreed with joe biden on almost every point. but as i was watching it last night he really annoyed me, constantly laughing atther guy and smirking and interrupting. and i thought about this a lot. it's very strange. i agreed with what he was doing yet i really disliked the way that he did it. i think that might be just the midwesterner in me.
i'm from kansas, originally, and i don't think you should--that he should have dragged the debate down to that kind of level. it was very fox news sort of thing to do. >> in so doing listen, joe biden was a senator for 6 years years--for 36 years. vice president for almost four years. he must be doing something right. >> agreed, absolutely. what i would say is--and i think he probably rehearsed it and thought about it, and they did it because they had this split camera thing where it's showing both people at the same time. if he had done it two or three times in the entire course of the hour and a half debate, it would have been very effective. to do it constantly, that really--that seemed really-- >> you know, thomas, i think it really might be a regional thing. you mention it might be the kansasen in you.
in new york, politicians are expected to have swagger. when i saw is last night was the happy warrior which was applied to al smith who fought for the working class out of new york in the 1920s. that's just what you do. you kind of smile as you slice in between the guy's ribs. >> why is it last week romney comes out aggressive, warrior-liker and is praised for it. and then biden comes out as the happy warrior and is criticized and is too aggressive. >> that's true. if you try to appear presidential and dignified, they say what is the matter with you. as you try to beat the other guy's brains in, they say, what is the matter with you. what i would say in joe biden's defense and i would challenge anyone within the sound of my voice to send me a note, who was
voted out of office because they were too arrogant or too condescending. i don't know that person. >> wait a minute. people don't like--people don't like condescension. but that's not what i think was going on here. you know what bothered me, and had he done this move once or twice, you know, it can be very effective. to do it constantly like that, it bothers me in two ways. first of all this is not a good way to win over voters who are on the defense. second of all imagine it turns all sorts of people off not just me. there are some midwestern states that are not entirely red you know. think about it this way. think about the president. what if we as a nation decided yeah, that is the way our presidential debates should be conducted. these guys, you constantly talk over one another ridicule one another. >> there is that, thomas, but
then there is the idea of the soft peddling, the happy warrior. when they got into the substance of the debate, i want to you listen to what joe biden said when he was talking about stimulus and engaging ryan and calling him out on things that were not true. this is joe biden talking about stimulus. >> i love my friend here. i'm not allowed to show letters but go on the website he shared me two letters and said, by the way can you send me stimulus money for a companies here in the state of wisconsin. >> that was awesome. that was a good moment. >> that was a classic moment. >> look, like i say, when you read the thing or when you think about the actual points being made, i'm biased in this regard, i'm very liberal you know? i think ryan is trying to pull a fast one in all sorts of ways. but can we go back to ryan here? one of the really serious things about this guy is that he is
very sincere in what he's doing. he really believes this stuff. he's not trying to--it sounds to you and me like he's trying to pull a fast one but i think honestly believes in what he's saying. there is this kind of misfiring of what biden was doing. biden was clearly i think aiming for partisan liberals, partisan democrats, often people like me who are disappointed with obama and are not really involved in the race, and trying to express our feeling of bewilderment of angry of romney and ryan for proposing these outrageous things. that's what he's trying to do. ryan himself doesn't think of it that way. ryan, as you could see last night, either he is really really in earnest which i think he is, or he's a really good actor. >> i think he wasn't quite prepared. he was prepared for the debate,
but when joe biden is in your face like that, it's hard to prepare. you saw him drinking water like 13 times. >> i was wondering where all that water was going. i was worried about that. >> you know where he went right after the debate. i want you guys to stay with me. we'll talk about this debate a little longer. errol lewis and thomas frank stick with me. we have the specifics about the romney-ryan tax plan or the lack of specifics. this is "viewpoint." i'm michael shure. you're watching current tv.
>> eliot: when romney selected paul ryan as a running mate, he was supposed to get a real numbers guy. as creator of the path to posterity ryan was supposed to provide the numeric justification for the tax plan. instead we got this. >> do you have the specifics. >> look at what mitt romney--look at what ronald reagan and tip o'neill did. >> michael: i mean, as my friend cenk uygur would say, of course! the reagan defense. they've relyied on drawing a comparison to ronald reagan as
well as one other president. >> it's been done before. >> it's never been done before. >> jack kennedy lowered tax-- >> now you're jack kennedy. >> if jack kennedy only knew how much he would come up in vice presidential debates i think paul ryan knew where that was going. i'm joined by erol lewis and thomas frank, thank you for sticking around and talking to us. you know in looking back at this it really taxes the way that they come up in these debates. the thing they're not talking about are mitt romney's taxes. the idea that they can look back and talk about taxes and ryan still getting caught with these lies and then the next day saying that's exactly what we meant to say. how does this work, errol. >> a promise has been made. a big broad promise has been made to splash taxes. it's estimated by a reasonable
objective source that this could cost treasury 5 trillion-dollar over ten years. a lot of people are naturally curious. where are you going to get that 5 trillion-dollar, and it's not in this ticket's political best interest to answer this question. let's say they can do this. the mortgage deduction is going to have to go. there are a number of important tax loopholes if you want to call them that, or tax incentives that will have to be ended. this is not something they're prepared to talk about. politically you have to understand that. they have 27 days left. it's not in anybody's best interest to say we're going to hawk at the most important entitlement that they've had for generations. they're trying to do something that is politically understandable and the democrats will try to hold them to account and fill in those gap where is they have refused to be specific about it. >> michael: thomas, what errol
is saying is really true. i can't imagine a homeowner who wants to see that mortgage interest write-off gone. when it's clear that the republicans cannot do this cut without that you heard ryan last night. how do they get away with that? >> i think in the same way they're getting away with all sorts of things. if you look at the paul ryan budget, and i understand that's not what mitt romney is proposing this year, but if you go back and look at--he did put paul ryan on the ticket. he did it for a reason. you look at the social security privatation schemes that they have proposed over the years these are things that would seriously damage the life chances of lots and lots and lots of people in this country. one of the reasons why they're able to get away with it is because i think people have a lot of cognitive disdense about this you look at the two
political parties out there, and we atomb they're wholesome products like coke and pepsi. they're not going to deliberately do something that is going to wreck the lives of millions and millions and millions of people. but you know, they are! this is the thing. and it's hard for people to understand that such a product would be allowed in the political marketplace but it is. it's very easy for them to skate around it because no one believes it's possible. >> michael: to push your analogy a little bit they're presenting themselves as diet coke and diet pepsi that can harm you. errol, i want you to answer a little bit of what thomas just said. this whole idea of representing something that isn't because people will just believe it or they won't believe it because they think these people are good. how can they make that differentiation in the next debate. did romney get what he wanted
last night when he named paul ryan to his ticket. >> i think he did. here's what really needs to be pushed on this debate, when the answer comes back over and over again we'll do what tip o'neill and what ronald reagan did we'll do what they did in 1986. we'll get together with our ideological opponents we'll meet, be reasonable and figure out 5 trillion-dollar worth of stuff. that sounds nice, and people want to believe that that's what their lawmakers and elected leaders are goinged to. what the president's team has to do is, you know, bring up some of the instances as you can go as far as birtherrism, and talk about what a poisoned atmosphere there is inside the beltway some of the statements that have come out mitch mcconnell saying the number one priority is to defeat the president. >> michael: right. >> and go on and on. look, you may think that both sides are going to get together to figure out 5 trillion-dollar of stuff so you don't need the
specifics now but the reality is that won't happen. >> michael: and you have to make the changes to the finance reform. >> yeah, i would actually--it's even worse than that. because if you look at the various historical tax cuts that paul ryan referred to, they were done in vastly different circumstances. i'm surprised he didn't bring up in the warren g harding tax cut you know. the motive for cutting taxes is very different from what it was when john f. kennedy was president, the early 60s. today it's to defund the state conservatives say that all the time. they have two motives. one to let their wealthy constituents keep that much more money. but the other one is to defund the liberal state. they've talked about it for
decades. they're wrecking the state. they're wrecking the government. they're not trying to make it run better. >> michael: all in a week when we heard the government had trunk under the obama--shrunk under the obama administration. i'm going to ask each of you the same question. who won the debate and will it matter. >> i think joe biden clearly won the debate. you can gauge that by the other side complaining by the style issues and not going to the substance. i think it will be merged in the polling data with whatever happens on tuesday in the presidential. but i think they've started a theme. if the president kind of continues in biden's direction it will merge together, and you'll start to see polling data to support that it was a very good debate for the democrats. >> michael: thomas frank. >> i would say biden won on issue but ryan won on decorum.
one thing that biden did that i really liked when he would start on those grand rhetorical flights about the wonders of liberalism and the middle class he tend to wander off but those were inspiring. if barack obama could talk that way, they would have this thing in the bag. >> michael: indeed, they would. i think a lot of people were watching it that way. guys, he had a great time. errol louis and thomas frank. thank you for your time. >> what a malarky. there was a lot of talk about malarky, and what do you do when your co-host faints on live tv. that's right. keep on selling. the view finder is ahead. ?denttv
e presidential and vice presidential candidates before the first mention of social and more specifically women's issues, even then it left much to be desired. moderateor martha raddatz asked a question late in the debate about abortion but enabled the two vice presidential candidates to give their answer while only mentioning the word women a combined one time. >> you want to ask basically why i'm pro-life? it's not simply because of my catholic faith. that's a factor of course. but it's also because of reason and science. >> life begins at conception. that's the church's judgment. i accept it in my person life. but i refuse to impose it on equally devout christians
muslims, jews, i just refuse to impose that on others. >> michael: joining me now is salon.com staff writer irin carmon. this debate, they spent a ton of time on foreign policy, too much time. and then they got in this area of abortion and women's rights. it has not come up that much, and then after after the polls after the debate mitt romney made up a huge amount of ground among women. why are they not focusing more on women especially with a woman moderating the debate last night. >> i was frustrated last week at the presidential debates that obama and the democrats, and obama's campaign has been making a full-throated pitch to women on reproductive rights by pointing out extreme the house republicans have been from which paul ryan comes. how extreme the republican main
treatment is on the issue of women's bodies. but obama missed a chance to bring it up last week. he could have made a direct pitch. because he seemed uninspired over all he allowed romney to fill the gaps. the last thing that they want to do the last thing that the republicans want to do is bring up quote/unquote women issues which they like to call life issues because they see women as incubators. although i was frustrated that it was brought up as a religious question biden made this about first amendment the separation of church and state public morality policy, and bringing this back to the things that paul ryan and the house of representatives have done which is trying to reclassify rape when it comes to abortion rights. >> michael: going back to the last debate in fact, the presidential debate. we did not see it brought up enough. there is a lot that we did not see brought up.
you're in a long line of people with complaints in hand from what they didn't see from the president. but knowing the numbers and knowing where women' issues play especially this year, they're calling this the election of the woman, and even though there are four men running for presidency, these issues are at the forefront. do you see the president paying attention? do you see his handlers paying attention to these numbers? they have to know that's where they'll want to get votes. all new moms are classified as something, and this year they're the waitress moms who seem to be the ones that people are after. >> that's why so it's surprising that obama did not bring it up. as someone who covers this issue and these issues i hear from the campaign 15 times a day from them. what was missing from last night was not just making this about abortion and personal morality even though abortion rights are extremely important, but pointing out how much republicans have tried to limit access to contraception which is the best way to eliminate limit unplanned
pregnancies. having to provide contraception to employees through insurance companies, they stood up on that. they have the two supreme court justices they brought up, and yesterday, it all just got framed as what do these two white guys think in terms of their personal morality, their faith as to what should happen to women's bodies. we have yet to see them make that pitch which is not just about abortion, birth control but respect women's rights to make decision about healthcare. >> michael: you alluded to it. let's listen to a little bit from last night talking about the justices, and how the justices impact unelected judges is what they call it, is what paul ryan called the impact decisions in the country. >> if the romney-ryan ticket is
elected should those who believe abortion should remain legal be worried? >> we don't think that unelected judges should make this decision that people through their elected representatives and reaching a consensus in society to the democratic process should make this determination. >> michael: you know, when you hear that, and you see the importance and the gravity of this issue and the way that ryan answers it, isn't that scream to go women, i'm not going to say--it's not screaming to me. i'm asking you isn't that screaming for women to vote for obama and biden? >> i think so. any states rights argument should send a chill down people's spines, especially those who have been discriminated against by legislatures and how disengenerous they are of legislation. they're definitely going to sign
an anti-abortion ban. and the supreme court that's something we have not heard enough about on any side. the liberal justices on the supreme court are older. they are the votes that are up holding planned parenthood versus casey which is what we have in stead of roe v. wade. traditionally this has been a really gimme for social conservatives when they don't get all their legislative priorities they get justices like alito and roberts. >> michael: it's the only enduring legacy of any president, the appointment of supreme courts and i think they should talk about lily ledbetter more. that speaks to women of all stripes. salon.com staff writer irin carmon. it was an interesting conversation. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> michael: another important issues that you did not hear in last night's debate is climate change. that's next.
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>> michael: you know, the real sleeper issue of the 2012 election may, in fact, be climate change. cold to recent polling by yale anduniversities say 69% and 55% global warming to be important issues for those who cast their vote. so why with two debates in the can have the issue of climate change been non-existent. here with me is joe rome, author of "america's fearest chime blogger" and editor of "climate progress.org , and author of
"language intelligence lessons on persuasion from jesus shakespeare and lincoln and lady gaga." where are they not talking about climate change? >> i cannot think of one. there is no question there is one of the best wedge issue it divides the tea party extremist the only group that doesn't understand climate science not just from democrats but independents and moderate, particularly moderate women. this is about pollution. this is about children's health, the future of our children. we do have a responsibility, you know, to leave the world a better place for our kids. that's why this issue resonates so well with so many voters other than the tea party and you can only solve global warming with clean energy, solar and wind another issue that resonates with all voters except the tea party.
>> michael: it seems like such a great political issue for democrats. the people that you alienate by supporting climate change legislature arelegislation are not going to be with you any way. they're not those who are making up their mind between obama and romney. those who are against it, don't believe in the science at all the deniers, the doubters, they're not going to vote for president obama any way. this is a great way not to alienate anyone but strike a chord who are in the middle and undecided. >> absolutely. independents tend to be fact-based voters, not ideological-based voters. of course they care about things like science. that's why paul ryan tried to appeal. his abortion policy is based on science and reason. which is funny because his climate policy is based on ideological.
>> that's true. that did not resonate with me. people in that camp already it doesn't matter. is there any chance, do you see even a seed of action on the part of anyone to talk about this? or is it going to be one of these things that we go through this election, and it's not even a wedge issue to be frank. >> yeah well, i think romney mocked obama's claim that he would slow the rise of the ocean and heal the planet in his convention speech, and that got obama pissed enough in his convention speech global warming is real, droughts, floods, wildfires, they're getting worse. he tweeted about it, and he included it in his speech at the university of miami. but it's only going to come into the campaign one way. president obama brings it up because lord knows the media-- >> michael: that was apparently he got president obama pissed if you have about anything to come out swinging about it.
you're right, president obama coming in would be something that the only way to get this into the conversation. now, i haven't seen even an inkling of that. they have talked about it more at the convention, to be fair, than i thought they were going to talk about it, but then it was left in charlotte. and that was that. what has to change in this finite period of name, aside from the president going in there and talking about it, what has to change in order to get it on the table? >> well, it would be great if a member of the media actually asked one question on what most of us think is the story of the century, which is that we're in the process of ruining this livable climate of ours. we can still solve the problem if we act now but obviously if no one talks about it, it's very hard to solve the problem. i would say that it boggles the mind that the president does not bring up the fact that mitt romney opposes the wind energy tax credit. which is a major winning issue
supporting the tax credit, in key swing states like iowa, which tells you how much money he's getting from big oil and fossil fuel companies which is against what 80% of americans support, which is clean energy, no pollution cleaner air. >> michael: imagine that, a tax credit that mitt romney doesn't support, and an investment that mitt romney wouldn't make. that's hard to believe boggles the mind. very quickly before you leave are you hopeful, or are you doubtful about climate change coming in? >> well, you know, i have this tried to point out--i don't think the obama administration is good on a lot of areas of communication. i was listening to your show, and he has not brought up a lot